Riding a bus in the Comox Valley has become easier for those with Internet access or a smart phone, thanks to Google Transit.
The trip-planning tool was launched Friday at Vanier Secondary by Comox Valley MLA Don McRae, regional district chair Edwin Grieve and BC Transit vice-president Brian Anderson.
With help from a Grade 8 class, McRae demonstrated how Google Transit can link people to various Valley destinations.
“I think it’s important that we continue to keep up with technology,” McRae said. “We’re the fifth community in the BC Transit system to adopt it (Google Transit).”
Upwards of 544,000 people boarded Valley buses in 2012/13. Tools such as Google Transit help boost ridership by demonstrating that buses are a convenient alternative to vehicles.
Grieve — noting students comprise a large percentage of transit users — said Google Transit is an “invaluable” tool, especially considering a new bus system extends from Cumberland.
The CVRD hopes to bring back the Beach Bus run to Goose Spit, which was launched last summer.
“Whether you’re a student taking the bus to school or college, or someone making the occasional trip on transit, we find this is going to be a simpler way of planning your trip and minimizing the amount of time standing at bus stops,” Grieve said.
Anderson notes the local transit system contains 238 stops and 12 routes with 57 variations.
“This is just another step in the evolution of transit in the community,” he said.
For more information, visit www.bctransit.com/regions/com and click on the Trip Planner link.
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In each of the past two years, three bus stop locations in Courtenay have been selected for upgrades that include a concrete landing pad and a covered shelter.
The latest locales are westbound at the Old Island Highway in front of the Lewis Centre, Arden Road southbound at First Street and Lerwick Road northbound in front of Thrifty’s at Ryan Road.
BC Transit offers the City nearly half price on material costs for participating in its Bus Stop Program.
The annual project budget for the work is $30,000.